BP official: Critical time lost after Gulf explosion

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HOUSTON (AP) — A BP vice president said Wednesday that critical time was wasted in the hours after the Gulf of Mexico well explosion in trying to learn what changes had been made to a device meant to prevent oil from leaking from the blown-out well.

Harry Thierens, BP executive vice president for drilling and completions, told a panel of federal investigators from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Management Regulation and Enforcement that he was intimately involved in trying to shut down the well after the explosion April 20.

He said as attempts were being made to shut the well with the blowout preventer, it became clear rig-owner Transocean had made changes to the device’s locking mechanism. Mr. Thierens said it took between 12 hours and 24 hours to get the right drawings of the changes.

In the end, the device failed.

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